A History Of Coin Collecting

Today, it is believed that the first coins were bronze and used in China around 800-1,000BC. Lydia in Asia Minor used coins about 600-700 BC. The Lydian's coins were called "starters" which was a unit of weight. Starters were stamped with a lion's head image and made with a gold and silver alloy. Today, as you might guess, the coins that are still remaining are very valuable.

The early Americans did not use coins for money. They made their "notes" from beaver skins, wampum and tobacco. They had their own money system without coins in use until foreign traders came to America and demanded payment for their goods. The foreign coins then started to circulate, but soon Americans started making their own coins from copper in the 18th century. Then after the new American government was born, it started to regulate coinage.

The rights to produce their own coins were eventually given to the states. Later, national coinage was produced in America and the first U.S. Mint building started their coining operations in Philadelphia in 1793. The Mint building was actually an old brewery! The cent coin was the first one struck for circulation. It's amazing how these ingenious and enterprising early Americans operated their first Mints. They used a screw press that was powered by horses or many strong men! The planchets were squeezed between the obverse and reverse dies to strike the coins. At first, the dies were cut by hand. Sometimes a die cutter would add his own artistic flair to his dies. Coin collecting has a long and colorful history and was mostly a hobby for the wealthy until more modern times. The Roman Emperor Augustus (63BC-14AD) was the earliest person known to collect coins.
He collected them for his own collection and even gave out some as gifts. In the Middle Ages, the wealthy families and royalty amassed amazing collections. Even in the early history of America, only the wealthy could afford to collect coins. Everyone else had to spend the money for necessities such as food, shelter and clothing. Then in 1858 the American Numismatic Society was formed and in 1891 the American Numismatic Association was founded. (A numismatist is a person who studies, collects or invests in paper money or coins). Because of these organizations, public awareness of coin collecting grew and in the 1930s the U.S. Commemorative coins were struck and became extremely popular with the public. More and more people were starting to collect and invest in coins. The numismatic hobby has been growing every since the 1930s and it is estimated that there are more that 15 million numismatists in the United States today!

Collecting coins is such a popular hobby because the idea of collecting money is exciting! And the money itself is fascinating and informative. Coins can open up your world to other cultures, history, art and economics by just studying them and the stories attached to the coins. There is a satisfaction when a person finds that particular date or mintmark to complete his collection! And since a completed collection is more valuable than individual coins, the excitement grows after each completed collection! Start your collection today by visiting the many quality numismatic websites on the internet. Some companies even let you preview the coins before you buy them! It really is an exciting and fascinating hobby. Don't be surprised that when you collect that first coin, you won't want to stop!

Article Source: Coin Collecting Guide
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